The Federal Fusion line was one of the very first centerfire rifle ammo lines specifically designed and marketed for deer hunters in the United States.
Whitetail deer are by far the most popular big game species for hunters in North America and, while there is a wide variety of rifle ammo that will reliably kill deer, the folks at Federal Ammunition saw an opening in the market a few years ago.
They realized that a lot of hunters were overwhelmed by the sheer number of hunting ammo choices and made an effort to simplify things by designing and marketing a their new Federal Fusion line of hunting ammo specifically for deer hunters.
Since then, a lot of the other big manufacturers have followed Federal’s lead and have rolled out similar lines of deer hunting ammunition like the Hornady American Whitetail and Winchester Deer Season XP.
So, aside from Federal’s marketing strategy, what originally set Federal Fusion ammo apart from the competition?
In short, Federal started loaded their Fusion ammunition using bullets with bonded cores. Now, bonded core ammunition isn’t exactly a new idea and is a common feature with most premium hunting ammo used by hunters pursuing really large, tough, and or dangerous game like elk, moose, brown bear, and African plains game.
However, whitetail deer are much smaller than all of those other creatures and premium ammunition isn’t usually necessary for quick and ethical kills. In fact, sometimes using a premium bullet can be a handicap if it does not expand upon impact with a thin-skinned animal like a deer. Premium, controlled expansion ammunition is also quite often much more expensive than typical deer hunting ammunition.
Federal tackled those issues by designing their soft point Fusion bullet with a skived tip to enhance bullet expansion and improve terminal performance upon impact. At the same time, the molecularly-fused jacket is bonded to the bullet’s lead core, which improves weight retention and greatly reduces the odds of core-jacket separation.
The result is a bullet designed for rapid expansion, yet still with reliable deep penetration on deer sized game.
Interestingly enough, Federal also sells their Fusion ammunition at a similar price point to other popular brands of deer hunting ammo like the Remington Core Lokt, the Winchester Super-X, and the aforementioned Hornady American Whitetail and Winchester Deer Season XP.
Federal Fusion rifle ammunition is currently manufactured in just about every popular deer hunting caliber (plus a few not so popular ones) used by North American deer hunters: .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .270 Winchester Short Magnum (270 WSM), 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Remington, 7mm Winchester Short Magnum (7mm WSM), 7mm Remington Magnum (7mm Rem Mag), .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum (300 Win Mag), .300 Winchester Short Magnum (300 WSM), 7.62x39mm Soviet, .338 Federal, .338 Winchester Magnum, .35 Whelen, .45-70 Government, and .450 Bushmaster.
Federal also sells a version of their Fusion ammo customized for use in modern sporting rifles called the Fusion MSR. It’s currently manufactured in .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout, .308 Winchester, and .338 Federal.
Finally, Federal also manufactures Fusion Handgun ammunition in several popular handgun hunting calibers: .454 Casull, .460 S&W, .50 Action Express and .500 S&W. According to Federal, they have optimized those loads to use bullet weights and muzzle velocities with more manageable recoil while still being lethal on deer. For that reason though, Fusion Handgun ammo may not be the best choice for bear defense.
Take note that Federal Fusion ammo contains lead, so it’s not permitted for hunting in California. If you need, or prefer to use, lead free hunting ammo, consider Barnes VOR-TX or Nosler E-Tip ammo instead.
With all that in mind, if you’re looking for some good deer hunting ammo that’s reasonably priced and still gets the job done, then Federal Fusion ammunition might be perfect for you.